THE HIGHS & LOWS OF 2023: A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM OUR CEO

We’re almost at the end of what has been another busy year for Women in Games. And, as is tradition, we are reflecting on the highs and lows for women working in games, and for those playing them and looking in on this industry.

As they say in (women’s) football commentary, it really has been a game of two halves…

Much repeated here, but no less distressing, 2023 has seen reports of abuse, assault and harassment of women at industry events, plus accounts of toxicity within the workplace – https://tinyurl.com/373dr3f3

Online harassment of women and girls playing online continues. Here’s just one example of the abuse women receive, from a local UK newspaper – https://tinyurl.com/tha5zk9r

There have been shocking deepfake porn attacks on streamershttps://tinyurl.com/5bvkfk58

The Summer Game Fest showcase featured a grand total of zero women on stage during the two-hour event – https://tinyurl.com/3tnune65

PC Gamer magazine wrote women out of its 30-year history in its anniversary issue – https://tinyurl.com/4c84bdtm

And, in the wider tech space just a couple of weeks ago, we saw an event organiser create ‘fake’ women for its conference agenda, presumably to mask the lack of diversity in its speaker line-up. You couldn’t make it up, and you can click here to read more – https://tinyurl.com/2j4ytezd

But, there have been some great high points too. Within Women in Games itself, we have hosted five international events, attracting over 6,000 delegates from around the world.

Our Individual Ambassador Programme – powered by Keywords Studios – now boasts over 1,600 women and allies in 70+ countries around the world.

We launched the Women in Games Manifesto, to much acclaim.

And we have added to our trophy cabinet, with two Stevie Awards for Women in Business – for the organisation and me, personally.

In the industry, we have seen Xbox appoint a woman – Sarah Bond – as its new President, which is a huge step forward for women in leadership roles.

And even Rockstar – not historically known for its positive depiction of women characters – has revealed that GTA VI will have a woman, Lucia, as its protagonist. Not only that, but the male co-lead hasn’t even been named yet.

Outside of games, it’s been a great year for women in entertainment space.

The Los Angeles Times has just published an article revealing how women have saved Hollywoodhttps://tinyurl.com/59xtw57m

TIME Magazine has named Taylor Swift as its Person of the Yearhttps://tinyurl.com/yn2jnwsa

And of course, we saw the Barbie phenomenon over the summer, which has led her to be listed as the first ever fictional character to be included in the Forbes list of the Most Powerful Women in the Worldhttps://tinyurl.com/82y3562a

“As governments roll back women’s rights, Barbie emerged as a symbol not only of female empowerment but the necessity of fighting to recapture power that’s been taken away,” explains the magazine. “She’s inspired girls and their mothers for generations, but this was the year women needed her most. And she came through.

“As arbiters of the Power List, we acknowledge that Barbie can’t restore Americans’ reproductive rights, reopen girls’ schools in Afghanistan, bestow liberty on Iranian women or save women in Gaza and Ukraine from the devastation of man-made bombs. Only women in political, economic and institutional power can do that.

“What Barbie can do is give voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless through her ability to inspire.”

For those who have yet to see the movie (please do watch over the holiday season!), the conclusion of the story shows how women can pull together to fight for their rights…

…and that’s what the Women in Games community is all about too. There are still many barriers for us to break, and obstacles to climb, when it comes to creating an equal and equitable space for women and girls in games. But together we can make a difference.

Thank you all for your support during 2023 – and we look forward to returning in the New Year with some exciting new announcements.

Until then, Seasons Greetings from all of the Women in Games team!

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO, Women in Games

Main Newsletter Image: Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash